Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia is a popular tourist attraction, especially for families interested in colonial America and the place that served as Virginia’s capital during that time. In fact, the New York Times included the area in their 52 Places to Travel in 2019. The historic landmark and living history park features colonial era and constructed period buildings, first restored in the 1930s. The area is split up into three zones: Capitol, Market Square, and Palace Green.
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Some buildings are privately owned residences, but many are open to tourists. Artisans and craftsmen in period attire show how things were made during this time with demonstrations and products for sale like silver, wigs, furniture, books, and candles. The apothecary educates on herbs used for medicine while the important brickyard shows how Williamsburg was built. These take place throughout the day and some are included with admission. Check the daily schedule to see the hours of each vendor.
Among the historic buildings are the Capitol, the Presbyterian Meetinghouse, the Public Gaol (which once held Blackbeard‘s crew), the Peyton Randolph House, and the Courthouse. For the majority of the historic sites, tours take place every 15 minutes or they offer self-guided tours. There are also notable costumed interpreters like Thomas Jefferson, so you never know who you might see.
But the colonial buildings are only part of Colonial Williamsburg. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and DeWitt Wallace Decorative Art Museum are both operated by Colonial Williamsburg. The Rockefeller has one of the largest collections of American folk art in the country including paintings, sculpture, and Navajo weavings. The DeWitt Wallace has southern furniture, portraits, and one of the largest collections of British ceramics outside of England.
There are also food and drink options inside Colonial Williamsburg. Christiana Campbell’s Tavern was a favorite of George Washington’s and serves seafood. King’s Arm Tavern is a chophouse, while Shields Tavern is known for its home cooking. Chowning’s Tavern has period-inspired food and beer. There are also cafes like Raleigh Tavern Bakery, M. DuBois Grocer, and McKenzie Apothecary.
If You Go
Colonial Williamsburg is located at 101 Visitor Center Drive, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185. It’s a 30-minute drive from Newport News, one hour from Norfolk, and one hour from Richmond. Admission into Colonial Williamsburg is $40.99 for adult and $20.49 for children for one-day tickets. Multi-day tickets provide added value. The art museums require additional admission.
The buildings are open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. No food and drinks are permitted inside the buildings. Proof of admission is required for historic sites and museums, but not for shopping, lodging, and dining. Colonial Williamsburg has its own complimentary bus system that can take visitors from one area to the next.
Purchase your Colonial Williamsburg Admission before you go.
My visit to Colonial Williamsburg was organized by Visit Williamsburg and Percepture.